How is developmental dysplasia of the hip diagnosed?
There are several different approaches, based on the age of your child, which can help determine the diagnosis of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH).
Birth to one month of age: Diagnosis is based upon a physical examination of the hip(s). If the hip(s) appear normal upon exam, but your child is showing signs or symptoms of DDH, you may be asked to return for an X-ray or ultrasound at a future date to make sure the hip socket is developing correctly.
One to four months of age: If there is a question of hip dysplasia, either by an exam or due to the risk factors, your child’s doctor will request an ultrasound of the hip(s). An ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to view the hip socket.
Hip joints of babies in this age group are primarily made up of cartilage, so X-rays are not typically beneficial. If DDH is diagnosed or if signs and symptoms continue, your doctor will most likely also want to follow the progress of the hip(s) with future ultrasounds or X-rays.
Four months of age and older: After 4 months of age, bone has formed in the hip joint. At this age an X-ray of the hip(s) along with an ultrasound (up to 6 months) can be used to diagnose DDH.
What to expect from hip dysplasia tests
X-rays are taken in the office during your doctor visit. Ultrasounds are typically scheduled an hour before your appointment and occur in the radiology department on the first floor of the hospital.
How do providers at Children’s Hospital Colorado make a diagnosis?
Our doctors are able to diagnosis DDH based on your child’s birth history, physical examination and ultrasound. A physical evaluation plays an important role in diagnosis. Ultrasound is equally as important and can also help to determine the severity of the hip dysplasia.